Bengaluru: Indian startups are brimming with dynamic ideas but need to find the right opportunities to develop a better synergy with the UAE’s growing knowledge economy and showcase their enterprise, according to several entrepreneurs based in Bengaluru.
“It’s great to see the growing interest from the UAE to invest in India and also for Indian ventures to find new avenues of business in the UAE,” said Vir Kashyap, who was born in Dubai’s Jumeirah and is the co-founder of Babajob – a digital platform for connecting entry-level and lower level executives with better career opportunities. “There’s already a lot of cross-pollination between the UAE and India, and startups offer a new avenue,” he told Gulf News.
He was speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of a variety of startup owners and serial entrepreneurs with the UAE media in India’s IT capital, ahead of the official visit of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to India.
“I have been part of the Silicon Valley’s startup ecosystem, and also spent some time in Singapore, where the government runs a lot of startup initiatives. The next step is to look forward to the UAE as the entrepreneurial culture gathers momentum there,” said Rajiv Jayaraman, founder and CEO of Knolskape, which is among the world’s top 20 gaming companies, with its headquarters in Singapore.
“We are quite excited about the focus the UAE has on talent development to create a workforce of the future,” he told Gulf News. “Our next stop is the UAE, and we are all set to start our Middle East operations by the end of the month in Dubai,” he said. “We are looking at tie-ups with Insead in Abu Dhabi and the Academic City in Dubai along with several UAE schools.
He also applauded the “great news” from the Indian government to support the startup ecosystem. The Indian government’s Start Up India initiative, launched in January this year, aims to boost digital entrepreneurship at the grassroots for the estimated 4,500 startups that operate across the country.
“We have a lot of capabilities and a vibrant and cost-effective startup culture in India. But finding the right partners and the opportunities is crucial for such businesses to expand into the Middle East,” said Vaideeswaran Sethuraman, founder and CEO of Terraa, an e-commerce platform that allows users to shop for groceries from the comfort of their home.
Sethuraman, who worked with semiconductor giants AMD and Texas Instruments before founding Terraa, says the demand for innovative ideas that work in real-time world reflects the vibrancy of the startup culture across the country. “We grew from a two people operation to a 100-strong operation in two years. We are now among the top three mobile app developers in India.”
The advent of the Internet of Things (IOT) – the network of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other objects embedded with electronics and network connectivity that allows them to collect and exchange data – was a radical development that has given further impetus to the industry, he said.
Gerald Jaideep, who spent several years working in Dubai and now is the COO of Simplilearn, an online reskilling and upskilling platform for working professional, said: “We have delivered more than $4 billion in salary increments over the last five years by enabling smart learning and matching the skills with the jobs.”
“Developing new talents and skills in these fiercely competitive and ever changing times are vital – people have to learn to move forward and progress in their careers. We are working on potential tie-ups in the Middle East and offer Arabic versions of our apps, although many individuals in the UAE already use our services.”
Niveditha Vishwanathan of Vymo, which helps companies optimise productivity in real time through dedicated apps, shares the same optimism of doing business in the UAE. “We have held talks with some of the top banks in the UAE who would like to use our apps to increase the efficiency of their workforce,” she said.
According to a Nasscom report released in 2015, India has the world’s third highest number of startups, and nearly 75 per cent of the founders are under the age of 35.